Caroline Warfield Interviews the Earl of Chadbourn from The Renegade Wife
William Landrum, the Earl of Chadbourn, arrives for an interview with his author in an old shirt, a rumpled coat, and a hastily tied neck cloth. His cheeks are red, and he looks like a man who has just enjoyed vigorous exercise. Caroline Warfield views him with amusement. He ignores any ridiculous notions of curtsying, particularly from his creator, and says “Call me Will,” as he eases his sturdy frame into a chair. He looks every bit of his forty-nine years. He has sun-bronzed skin from long hours out of doors and an abundance of lines around his eyes that owe more to laughter than worry. The grey in his hair only makes him look more attractive. This is a man full of vigor and life.
Will: I meant to dress for this meeting, but last week’s rain weakened the wall on the south field, and our prize bull took advantage. After we retrieved him, the wall needed attention. You didn’t come to talk about estate management, though. What is it you wish to know?
CW: I’d like to talk to you about your brothers-in-law and their cousin.
Will: The boys? For your next book, I presume.
He runs an impatient hand through his hair, lost in his own thoughts for a moment.
Will: They will always be boys to me, but I can’t call them that any longer, can I? How old are they now?
CW: Rand and Charles are 27.
His smile looks rueful and affectionate.
Will: They were just lads when I married Catherine. After a pause he continues. That makes Fred 29. Hard to believe. Time enough that one ought to grow up.
CW: We can talk about Fred later. At the moment I’m more concerned about Rand.
Will: Me too. He had a falling out with Charles six years ago, turned tail, and ran to the wilds of Upper Canada. We hadn’t seen him since until he turned up last week. He thinks he’s going to be some sort of timber baron and claims it will make us all richer. At least he writes regularly, which is more than I can say for Fred.
CW: It was a bit more than a falling out.
The earl sighs and leans his elbows on his knees, hanging his head. The author waits.
Will: To Rand it was total betrayal. Catherine and I hated watching it. Those two had been best friends from the day they met. Inseparable. I used to worry they cut Fred out, but he generally went his own way. They were as close as two young men could be until Julia threw Rand over and married Charles. It was the title, of course. She coveted a duchess’s coronet.
CW: How horrible for Rand.
Will: Worse for Charles! That woman didn’t have an honest or faithful bone in her body. Rand couldn’t see it. He thought Charles seduced her away. In reality she played them both for fools. Now that he’s home…
CW: Yes, he has come back. How do you feel about that?
A smile of pure joy covers the earl’s face.
Will: About damned time he came back! He arrived at the London townhouse unannounced a week ago, sporting some spectacular bruises, and in a passion about a woman of all things. His sister is relieved, I can tell you that. She feared he’d live his whole life as some an eccentric hermit.
CW: He brought trouble with him. Didn’t that worry you?
Will: We can deal with troubles; we have friends and family to help. You can solve almost any problem when you have the support of family. What we can’t fix is someone who runs away.
CW: Can you fix what is broken between Rand and Charles?
Will: No. Some things people have to do for themselves. The two of them glared daggers at each other, but Charles put a plan in place to manage Rand’s difficulties and find the woman. We tracked her to Portsmouth. She is trapped in the hands of a vile man. He is one of those husbands who think it is their right to terrorize their wife and children, a rotten man. Rand and Charles left together, still not speaking—at least not about anything that matters. I hope the trip forces them to make at least some form of peace.
CW: We’ll just have to let them.
A quiet moment passes.
Will: You’re the author. I’m trusting you to sort things out between Rand and Charles, and even more, I’m hoping you find a way to help him with this married woman he has fallen for.
CW: Count on it.
Will: About Fred, he doesn’t even write, and it worries my Catherine. There are a dozen ways a man might come to an early death in India, even if he isn’t in the Bengal Army, which Fred most assuredly is. When we don’t hear from him, she worries.
CW: Did he leave angry also?
Will: Not our Fred. He just drifted off chasing glory, or horses, or women—whatever catches his fancy. It wouldn’t be so bad, if only he would write.
CW: I’ll have to think about that.
The earl nods and rises, claiming pressing business in the fields and the need to get back to London. His author thanks him for his time.
The Earl of Chadbourn appears in The Renegade Wife. He is also the hero of A Dangerous Nativity, set seventeen years earlier, in which “the boys” were introduced. That book is currently **FREE** on Amazon and other retailers via Smashwords.
He has a role An Open Heart, part of the Bluestocking Belles 2016 holiday anthology, and in each of the books in Caroline Warfield’s Dangerous Series.
About The Renegade Wife
Betrayed by his cousin and the woman he loved, Rand Wheatly fled England, his dreams of a loving family shattered. He clings to his solitude in an isolated cabin in Upper Canada. Returning from a business trip to find a widow and two children squatting in his house, he flies into a rage. He wants her gone, but her children are sick and injured, and his heart is not as hard as he likes to pretend.
Meggy Blair harbors a secret, and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep her children safe. She’d hopes to hide with her Ojibwa grandmother, if she can find the woman and her people. She doesn’t expect to find shelter with a quiet, solitary man, a man who lowers his defensive walls enough to let Meggy and her children in.
Their idyllic interlude is shattered when Meggy’s brutal husband appears to claim his children. She isn’t a widow, but a wife, a woman who betrayed the man she was supposed to love, just as Rand’s sweetheart betrayed him. He soon discovers why Meggy is on the run, but time is running out. To save them all, Rand must return and face his demons.
About the New Series
The heroes and heroines of Caroline’s Dangerous Series overcame challenges even after their happy ending. Their children seek their own happiness in distant lands in Children of Empire. Raised with all the privilege of the English aristocracy, forged on the edges of the British Empire, men and woman of the late Georgian/early Victorian age seek their own destiny and make their mark on history.
For more see: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/
About Caroline Warfield
The author of popular historical romance series centered on the earl and his family and friends, Caroline Warfield grew up in a peripatetic army family and had a varied career (largely around libraries and technology) before retiring to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania to write. She is ever a traveler and adventurer, enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens (but not the act of gardening). She is married to a prince among men. Her belief is Love is worth the risk!